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The plastic birds hoping to trick real gannets

The tiny Island of Rotoroa nestled among a chain of islets off the east coast of New Zealand has become the site for an ambitious wildlife experiment that will create a whole new ecosystem for endangered species.

Up to 20 species of endangered animals are planned for translocation to the island, from the takahe and kiwi birds to geckos and tuatara.

To maintain a healthy island ecosystem Rotoroa also needs to attract seabirds as they can bring essential nutrients to the land.

So an artificial gannet colony has been installed on the island in the hope of attracting the real Australasian gannet.

Some 16 plastic gannets with loudspeakers playing artificial sounds aim to attract the real birds as they look for somewhere to breed.

But will it work? Henry Golding went to find out.

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